Pride events canceled for social distancing
By Annabelle Arambula
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, April 13, 2020
Despite Pride Week’s existence in June, TAMIU holds pride week in April since summer is not part of the spring or fall semesters. The Campus Ally Network organization, created in 2016, is the only LGBTQ organization at the University and helps organize the campus Pride Week.
CAN President Michael Najar said the organization is small but eager to grow. As of now, the organization has 20-35 members but Najar hopes for more to join.
“We are a group that accepts people when they’re different,” Najar said. “We try our best as possible to make the school environment more friendly with us.”
He said maintaining an organization that is welcoming and accepting of different types of people is important. Pride week is CAN’s biggest event of the year. It was scheduled for April 6-10 but was canceled with all of the other campus events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Monday, April 6, we have our first event, which is basically an information booth with free hugs and a fundraiser,” Najar said, prior to the event’s cancelation. “We just basically inform people what’s happening throughout the whole week. On Tuesday, we’re going to have all organizations and small activities that relate to the LGBTQ community.
“Then on Wednesday, we’re going to have a tribute to why pride matters. We’re going to meet at the Student Center rotunda. Basically, having panels, pictures of all those who went through the struggle of being gay or being trans[gender].”
If the coronavirus had not struck, a Pride Walk was planned with help from the Martin or Alexander high schools’ bands, he said.
“We’re going to have it here from the garden and walk from the [Sue &Radcliffe Killam] Library to [the] Zaffirini [Student Success Center],” Najar described what might have happened. “On Friday is our drag show. We’re going to have some Laredo queens and some Houston queens.”
Sophomore sociology major Melody Valdez is a CAN member.
“We’re hoping for 50 people to show up during small events and 100 or more people for the pride walk and drag show,” Valdez said, prior to the event’s cancelation.
For CAN member and senior education major Cynthia Mancha, she said her favorite part of Pride Week is “the Pride Walk because everyone comes together to show support for one another which is something that is much needed in Laredo.”
The best part of Pride Week, Najar said, is seeing different types of people and organizations coming together for the event. Many of the activities involve large groups and would have violated the maximum number of people in a location, according to the City of Laredo emergency ordinance regarding the coronavirus.
The LGBTQ community faced and still faces issues, such as housing and employment discrimination, violence, unequal healthcare and acceptance. Part of Pride Week’s purpose is to recognize the impact LGBTQ members made on the world.